Observatoire politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes de Sciences Po

Amérique latine - L’Année politique is a publication by CERI-Sciences Po’s Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean (OPALC). The study extends the work presented on the Observatory’s website (www.sciencespo.fr/opalc) by offering tools for understanding a continent that is in the grip of deep transformations.

Observatoire politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes de Sciences Po

Amérique latine - L’Année politique 2017 est une publication de l’Observatoire politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes (Opalc) du CERI-Sciences Po. Il prolonge la démarche du site www.sciencespo.fr/opalc en offrant des clés de compréhension d’un continent en proie à des transformations profondes.

Kevin Parthenay

In Latin America, as elsewhere in the world, regional and subregional organizations have multiplied recently. Scholars tend to focus on the variety of regionalisms or their ever changing nature (post-liberal, post-hegemonic...). This study, through a political sociology of regionalism approach, examines Latin American regions and their actors and goes beyond the first set of questions. In this perspective, scrutinizing the regional General Secretaries of the sub-continent is particularly useful to understand how regional powers emerge. With a specific focus on the Southern Common Market (UNSUR), the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and the Central American Integration System (SICA), this research offers a more precise answer to the question of the configuration of power within Latin American regionalisms.

Jacobo Grajales

Four years after the negotiations started in Havana, 2016 marked the success of the peace talks between the Colombian government and the Farc rebels. Even if during the entire process the outcome was unclear, most political actors did not wait for the actual signature of the agreement to claim results. New public policies have been launched and in the rural and land sector the break with a violent past has been loudly dramatized. Changes conducted in the name of the consolidation of peace do however have more discreet effects. They cause an increased business of land, which risks producing exclusion and dissent in rural areas. Although it is undeniable that the post conflict agenda includes reparation policies for the victims and protection for small farmers, taking advantage of peace as an opportunity for economic development does also trigger interest for territories that are defined as new agrarian frontiers. And so, not only have the agro-industrial exploitation and the commodification of nature become legitimate, but they seem to be part of the social changes that are both made possible by peace, and desirable.

Frédéric Massé

The conflict in Colombia has, in the space of a few years, become a real headache for the United States as well as for Europe. Countless human rights violations, forced population displacement, drug trafficking and terrorism make Colombia a textbook case for examining the entire range of security problems today. With the launching of Plan Colombia in 1999, the United States considerably increased its aid to the country. Today, the American administration actively supports Alvaro Uribe’s government in its fight against guerilla movements, labeled “narcoterrorists,” and rumors of armed intervention regularly resurface. Having long remained on the sidelines of the “Colombian tragedy,” Europe seems to be relegated to playing second fiddle. The military option represented by Plan Colombia had opened up a political spaced that the Europeans began to occupy. But with the break-off of peace negotiations, this space has shrunk and has maybe even disappeared for good. In the face of American efforts to monopolize management of the Colombian conflict, it is in fact hard to see how the European Union can return to the forefront in this area of the world that remains the United States’ preserve. All the more so since virtually no voices can be heard asking the Europeans to counterbalance the United States. The situation in Colombia is a new illustration of the state of U.S.-European relations today, between competition, a search for complementarity and a mutual lack of understanding.